The Once-And-For-All, Very Last Town in Michigan

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Written By Happy

 

 

 

 

Michigan boasts numerous towns, each with its distinctive history and allure. However, did you know there exists a town that claims the ultimate position in Michigan’s alphabetical roster? This unique distinction belongs to Zutphen, a quaint village situated in Ottawa County, boasting a population of fewer than 300 residents. While Zutphen may not be a widely recognized or bustling locale, its narrative holds a tale worth recounting.

Zutphen’s Beginnings

Established by Dutch immigrants in the 1860s, Zutphen draws its name from a town in the Netherlands. Primarily comprised of farmers, these settlers diligently cultivated the fertile land, fostering a tight-knit community. The construction of a church, school, and a post office, operational from 1882 to 1906, marked the community’s growth. Johannes Glupker, a local farmer and leader, served as the inaugural postmaster.

Zutphen stood as one among several Dutch settlements in western Michigan, alongside notable places like Holland, Zeeland, and Vriesland. The settlers actively preserved their cultural traditions and language, contributing significantly to the economic and social progress of the region.

Zutphen’s Decline

Despite its rich history, Zutphen never expanded beyond its initial size and influence. Over time, a considerable number of residents sought better opportunities elsewhere, resulting in the closure of the post office, the school’s merger with another district, and the gradual disappearance of local businesses. Today, Zutphen lacks a downtown, shops, gas stations, or restaurants. The surviving landmarks are the 1956-reconstructed church and the converted old parsonage, now a private residence.

Regrettably, Zutphen’s historical significance remains overlooked in many Ottawa County articles, almost as if the town is fading from both the map and Michigan’s collective memory.

Zutphen’s Tomorrow

While Zutphen may be the final town in Michigan, it is by no means the least. A handful of homes and families still reside there, holding dear their heritage and rural lifestyle. The town’s natural beauty and tranquil ambiance attract visitors seeking respite from urban chaos. Though lacking in amenities and attractions, Zutphen possesses a charm and character that render it truly unique.

Zutphen merits recognition and appreciation rather than being consigned to neglect and obscurity. It stands as a symbol of Michigan’s history and spirit, occupying a special place in the hearts of those acquainted with and fond of it. Zutphen is not just the ultimate town in Michigan but, in many ways, the first.

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